For a few years, there has been a sticky note attached to a board in my kitchen with this message scrawled in red Sharpie pen.
It reminds me to ask. Because when it comes to self-coaching, asking myself what I’m committed to is my go-to question.
When I’ve over-committed myself, this question sets me straight and wakes me up to the fact that I need to scale back. When I’m trying to decide between a few different options that all sound interesting (personally or professionally), it reminds me to check in with my values and objectives to find the best fit.
Is how I spent my day today actually aligned with what I’ve committed to? Are some of my commitments in conflict with one another?
Everything starts with a commitment.
Including the new year.
Commitment — making the decision to invest and follow through– is one of the “secrets” behind changing a habit, adopting a new practice, starting a new routine, achieving a goal, finishing a project, having positive relationships. You name it.
Except it’s no secret.
Our individual successes, however we define them, come down to what it is we are choosing to commit to every day. And a lot of the time, what we’re committed to might not feel obvious. That is, unless we look at what we’re doing and not what we’re talking about doing (that’s a surefire clue, by the way).
This January, I invite you to ditch the resolutions and the betterment plans and ask yourself one question:
What am I committed to?
Starting from this place grounds your planning for the new year and helps you more successfully design the work+life fit that you desire. Your commitment could be a single word, a phrase, a couple of words– even a theme song.
What matters is that you focus. You commit.
This year, I’ve committed to growth, in all areas of my work and life. That’s my theme for the year, and it’s evident in any personal and professional objectives I’ve set. One of my clients has committed to strength and wellness. Another has committed to her creativity. Another has identified keeping a sustainable professional schedule as her focus.
What will your experience of 2014 be like? Consider choosing your commitments and taking an active role in what wins your attention.
Decide what matters. There are million things we could commit to do or to be in 2014. Shiny objects are everywhere. Media can be a never-ending parade of what others want us to be focused on. Even performance reviews at work offer us ways to improve. But think about this, please. Will your year be about keeping up with others, setting halfhearted resolutions and chasing the latest trend? Or will it be about setting meaningful goals and having/being more of what really matters to you? The choice is yours, and it starts with spending some honest quiet time with yourself and deciding what truly needs or deserves your attention right now.
Commit to your self-care. What do you need to be at your best? Too often, these are the first things we un-commit to in favor of adding one more obligation to our calendars or falling back into old habits. This is the road to burnout, overwhelm and not meeting our goals. The big 3 are a great place to begin if you want “bang for the buck”: adequate rest, good nutrition and moving your body regularly makes all the difference.
Put the big rocks on the calendar. If it’s what matters– if it’s your true focus and your real commitment– then choose to make it happen. Sit down with your calendar or planner and block out time for what you really want, whether it’s time off with your family, leaving work on time, that conference that will grow your skills, regular gym time, a weekly financial check, that trip you keep meaning to take. Do it first, and think very carefully before moving those appointments.
Focus. Consider choosing no more than 4 professional objectives and 4 personal objectives for the year. That’s plenty to focus on, and it’s just 1 per quarter. When you’re done, you can feel free to add more. With commitment and focus, you’ll accomplish much more than you expect, anyway.
What will you be committing to this year? I’d love to hear where your focus will be in the comments below.